Dating Violence and Sexual Coercion as Part of a General Antisocial Orientation

Leslie C. Gordon, Clemson University

This paper (to be delivered as a poster presentation) investigates two research questions. First, are dating violence and sexual coercion independent, specialized types of deviant behavior or part of a more general antisocial orientation? Criminological theory (i.e. Gottfredson and Hirsch, 1989) would suggest the latter. If so, dating violence and sexual coercion will be correlated and both constructs will be correlated with other delinquent behaviors. Preliminary analysis supports this relationship.

Second, I investigate the extent to which one's experience in the family of origin gives rise to a propensity to engage in dating violence and sexual coercion. There are two theoretical perspectives that are relevant. Straus and Donnelly (1995) argue that when children are subject to corporal punishment, they are learning to use violence, aggression and force to get what they want in intimate relationships. This could lead to dating violence and sexual coercion as modes of behavior when attempting to obtain desired results in the face of frustration. On the other hand, Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1989) theory would argue that these behaviors would be a component of a more geneal antisocial orientation rooted in ineffective parenting. According to that perspective, individuals neer learn to have self-control in the face of adversity.

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Updated 05/20/2006